Excel Tutorial: How To Make An Excel Gantt Chart


If you're looking to improve your project management skills, creating a Gantt chart in Excel is a great place to start. But first, what exactly is a Gantt chart? Essentially, it's a type of bar chart that visually represents a project's schedule, showing the start and finish dates of the various elements of the project. By using Gantt charts, project managers can easily track progress, identify dependencies, and allocate resources efficiently. In this tutorial, we'll walk you through the process of creating a Gantt chart in Excel, so you can start using this powerful tool in your project management endeavors.

Key Takeaways

  • Gantt charts visually represent a project's schedule, making it easy to track progress and allocate resources efficiently
  • Understanding the key elements and purpose of Gantt charts is essential for effective project management
  • Organizing project tasks in Excel and creating a bar chart is the first step in creating a Gantt chart
  • Customizing the Gantt chart with task labels, milestone markers, and project details enhances its usefulness
  • Including project dependencies in the Gantt chart helps in identifying and managing task relationships

Understanding the basics of Gantt charts

When it comes to project management, Gantt charts are an essential tool for visualizing and managing tasks and timelines. Understanding the basics of Gantt charts is crucial for effectively using this tool in Excel.

A. Define the key elements of a Gantt chart

In a Gantt chart, the key elements include:

  • Tasks: The individual activities or steps that make up a project.
  • Timeline: The time frame for completing each task, usually displayed in days, weeks, or months.
  • Dependencies: The relationships between tasks, indicating which tasks need to be completed before others can start.
  • Progress: The completion status of each task, often indicated by a bar or symbol within the chart.

These elements work together to provide a visual representation of the project's schedule and progress.

B. Explain the purpose of using a Gantt chart

The primary purpose of using a Gantt chart is to effectively plan, manage, and track a project's progress. Gantt charts provide a clear overview of the project's timeline, allowing project managers and team members to see the sequence of tasks, identify potential bottlenecks, and allocate resources efficiently. Additionally, Gantt charts help in communicating the project schedule to stakeholders, ensuring everyone is on the same page regarding deadlines and milestones.


Understanding the basics of Gantt charts is essential for leveraging the power of this project management tool. With a clear grasp of the key elements and purpose of Gantt charts, you can effectively create and utilize them in Excel for your projects.

Setting up the data in Excel

Before creating a Gantt chart in Excel, it is important to organize the project tasks in a table format. This will help in visualizing the timeline and dependencies of each task.

A. Organize the project tasks in a table format

Start by creating a new worksheet in Excel and label the columns with the necessary information for each task. The columns should include the task name, start date, end date, and duration.

B. Include the start date, end date, and duration for each task

For each task, input the start date and end date in the respective columns. Additionally, calculate the duration of each task by subtracting the start date from the end date. This will help in accurately representing the timelines on the Gantt chart.

Creating a bar chart

When creating a Gantt chart in Excel, it's important to start by selecting the data range for the chart and then inserting a stacked bar chart based on the selected data. Follow these steps to create a bar chart for your Gantt chart:

A. Select the data range for the Gantt chart
  • Open your Excel spreadsheet and navigate to the worksheet where your project data is located.
  • Select the range of cells that contain the data you want to include in your Gantt chart. This typically includes the task names, start dates, and durations.
  • Ensure that the data is organized in a way that makes sense for representing your project timeline in the Gantt chart.

B. Insert a stacked bar chart based on the selected data
  • With your data range selected, go to the "Insert" tab on the Excel ribbon.
  • Click on the "Bar Chart" button to open the dropdown menu.
  • Choose the "Stacked Bar" chart option, which will create a bar chart where the bars for each task are stacked on top of each other to represent the project timeline.
  • Your selected data range will now be used to generate the initial Gantt chart in Excel. You can make further adjustments to the chart layout, design, and formatting to customize it according to your project's specific needs.

Customizing the Gantt chart

Once you have created your Excel Gantt chart, you can further customize it to better fit your project needs. Here are some ways to do that:

A. Adjust the bar chart to display as a Gantt chart
  • Step 1: Click on the bar chart to select it.
  • Step 2: Go to the "Design" tab in the Excel ribbon.
  • Step 3: Click on the "Change Chart Type" button.
  • Step 4: In the "Change Chart Type" dialog box, select "Stacked Bar" from the list of options on the left.
  • Step 5: Click "OK" to apply the changes and convert the bar chart into a Gantt chart.

B. Add task labels and milestone markers to the chart
  • Step 1: Click on the Gantt chart to select it.
  • Step 2: Go to the "Layout" tab in the Excel ribbon.
  • Step 3: Click on the "Add Chart Element" button.
  • Step 4: Select "Data Labels" and choose where you want the labels to appear (e.g., above the bars).
  • Step 5: Click on the "Add Chart Element" button again and this time select "Data Table" to add a table of task names and start/end dates below the chart.
  • Step 6: To add milestone markers, click on the milestone on the chart and right-click to format it.
  • Step 7: In the "Format Data Point" pane, go to the "Marker Options" tab and select the marker type and size you want to use for your milestones.

Adding project details and dependencies

When creating a Gantt chart in Excel, it’s important to include as much project detail as possible to provide a comprehensive overview of the project timeline and task dependencies. Additionally, linking dependent tasks will ensure that the chart accurately represents the workflow and sequence of tasks.

A. Include additional project details in the Gantt chart
  • Add task descriptions

    Include a brief description of each task on the Gantt chart to provide clarity and context for each milestone.
  • Include start and end dates

    Specify the start and end dates for each task to clearly illustrate the timeline for the project.
  • Assign responsible parties

    Indicate the individuals or teams responsible for completing each task to ensure accountability and transparency.
  • Add project milestones

    Highlight important project milestones, such as key deliverables or major project phases, to mark significant events in the project timeline.

B. Link dependent tasks on the chart
  • Identify task dependencies

    Determine the sequence of tasks and identify any dependencies between them, such as tasks that must be completed before others can begin.
  • Use Excel formulas

    Utilize Excel’s formulas, such as the "Start-Start," "Finish-Start," "Start-Finish," and "Finish-Finish" relationships, to link dependent tasks on the Gantt chart.
  • Visualize task dependencies

    Visually represent task dependencies on the chart using arrows or lines to show the relationship between tasks and ensure a clear understanding of the project workflow.


In conclusion, Gantt charts are essential tools for project management as they provide a visual timeline of tasks, helping to track progress, allocate resources, and meet deadlines effectively. By utilizing Excel to create Gantt charts, you can easily customize and update the chart as needed, making it a valuable asset for any project. I encourage our readers to give it a try and create their own Gantt chart in Excel to experience the benefits firsthand.

Excel Dashboard

ONLY $99

    Immediate Download

    MAC & PC Compatible

    Free Email Support

Related aticles